The Department of Social Work (UGC Centre of Advanced Study), Faculty of Social Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi, India
CONFERENCE TITLE: International Conference on Social Work Education and Practice
PROGRAMME VENUE: Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi, India
DATE AND DURATION OF THE CONFERENCE: 20th to 22nd February, 2017 (3 Days)
CONFERENCE BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
Social Work Profession is now more than 100 years old. No doubt it has come a long way and witnessed continuous growth and professionalization. However, even today, people continue to have trouble in understanding what Social Work is all about-what it wants to achieve and by what means and methods. Questions about the professional status of Social Work have also been raised since the very beginning. Flexner first raised the fundamental question, “Is Social Work a Profession?” way back in 1915. Flexner found that while Social Work demonstrated some professional attributes-it was intellectual, derived its knowledge from science and learning, owned a “professional self consciousness” and was altruistic; it was found lacking on some other important professional criteria. The major deficiency of the profession was found in the broadness of its boundaries. He believed that professions had to have definite and specific ends.
The universal values of the profession are critiqued by some as emanating from the individualistic western value system and thus creating intellectual hegemony for understanding of the prevailing social problems and the strategies to address these. The contents of and the need for a global definition of social have also been questioned as it fails to adequately capture the vastly different socio-economic and political contexts and their realities
On the other hand, the process of globalization lend additional support to the argument in favour of universalism and developing a global understanding of the problems and finding global strategies to address these. The indigenous knowledge and practices in Social Work therefore gets undermined resulting in imperialization of Social Work. The role of Social Work on the one hand in ‘so called’ welfare states like Great Britain, other European countries and Canada, etc, has been reduced to administration of Social Welfare benefits prompting some of the authors to call it “state mediated Social Work” and on the other hand Social Work Profession proclaiming for itself the role of empowering and liberating people and attaining Social Justice on their behalf, is assuming some of the functions of preglobalization era state.
The effectiveness of Social Work interventions and the achievements of the profession as measured in the light of the tall objectives set out in the global definition of Social Work therefore are not inspiring enough, if not disappointing. The question therefore about its professional status, raised in 1915, particularly on account of a lack of precise boundary and a distinct contribution to the society; continue to haunt even today.
In India, Social Work Education started in 1936 with an initial focus on developing trained human resources to cater to the requirement of welfare officers to oversee the administration of statutory welfare benefits for the exploited and toiling industrial workforce; spread to include rural and urban community development, family and child welfare, correctional Social Work and medical and psychiatric Social Work as the major areas of Social Work practice which largely functioned in state funded institutions and institutions under the patronage of the state. Structural adjustment programme that India adopted to bail out the economy in early 1990s resulted in far reaching implications, not only for the Indian economy, but also the social sector, and consequently Social Work Profession. The profession even then did not change much both in terms of its content and approach. As a result the efficacy of Social Work interventions in the changed scenario of shrunk state became all the more questionable. In a country which has a population of 1.25 billion people, a substantial proportion of which still struggles to achieve decent standards of living, having limited access to health services, drinking water, housing and employment, the kind of Social Work as practiced in the global north has been criticized by many. The dimensions of criticism have included the debate on specialist and generalist model of Social Work, efficacy of field based specializations, methods like case work and group work and their limited 3 outreach particularly in view of large sections of population afflicted by poverty, hunger, unemployment, exploitation and discrimination. This debate and discussion however, largely remained confined to the seminar rooms and conference rooms of the Schools of Social Work among the Social Work educators and sometimes with the Social Work practitioners. The close collaborative relationship that should exist between the practitioners and educators to enrich a practising profession has been severely lacking in the Indian context. Development of indigenous literature and methods of practice more suited to the socio-economic contextual realities to overcome the deficiencies of “borrowed” ones therefore remains largely elusive. It is high time that these along with other related issued are discussed threadbare by educators, practitioners and other stack holders to make the profession more focussed and its interventions more precise and incisive with a higher degree of professionalism and demonstrative effect.
The Department of Social Work (UGC Centre of Advanced Study), Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi, which has its genesis in the community development programme of the country, has been a pioneer in Social Work Education. It started out with undergraduate education in 1967. The department since its establishment has been experimenting with various approaches and methodologies to nurture young professionals of social work. The contribution of the department has been recognized nationally and internationally. The University Grants Commission first recognized it as a Department of Special Assistance (DSA) in 1990 and it remained so until 2010, when the department was elevated to the status of Centre of Advanced Study (CAS), which it continues to be. One of the objectives under the CAS has been to perform the leadership role for Social Work Education in India. Therefore, the Department is organizing the International Conference on ‘Social Work Education and Practice’ in February 2017 as part of its Golden Jubilee Celebrations (50 years of its establishment).
This conference therefore proposes to review the situation, learning and issues around Social Work Education and Practice in India and abroad over the last 50 years. Some of the issues that the conference wishes to focus on are:
1. Relevance and Efficacy of Social Work Education
2. Changing Scope of Social Work Profession
3. Challenges before the Profession
4. Knowledge in Social Work, Trans-disciplinary nature and resistance to new Knowledge
5. Evidence based Practice
A. To review Social Work Education during the last 50 years.
B. To understand major global and regional socio-economic, political changes and their implications for Social Work Education and practice.
C. Envisioning the future vis-à-vis the role of Social Work Education and Practice
Major Themes of the Conference are:
1. Scope of Social Work Profession
2. Methods of Social Work and Practice Areas
3. Pedagogical Issues/Curricular Aspects
4. Core Competencies
5. Fieldwork in Social Work Education
ABSTRACT AND PAPER SUBMISSION FORMAT REQUIREMENTS AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
Papers on the listed themes must be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Papers must be in Microsoft Word.
2. Papers must be written in English.
3. Your submission should include a separate page containing:
Title of Paper
Suggested Topic and Sub theme
Name(s) of Authors
Contact Address, Telephone, Fax and E-mail address
4. Author’s names should be on the title page only, in order to facilitate the blind referring process.
5. Papers and abstracts will only be accepted for review on the condition that the manuscript has not been copyrighted, has not been published, has not been presented or accepted for presentation at professional meetings, and is not currently under review for presentation at other professional meetings. A declaration to this effect must accompany the final paper in the format given.
6. Authors must intend to register for, and attend, the conference to present the paper if it is accepted.
7. All accepted papers will be published in the edited book, provided completed papers are received by the appropriate deadline and conform to the format and length requirements.
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